Ancient Greek personal names


Compound names
Demosthenes is compounded from two ordinary Greek roots (a structure at least as old as proto-Indo-European):[8] demos “people” and sthenos “strength”. A vast number of Greek names have this form, being compounded from two clearly recognizable (though sometimes shortened) elements: Nikomachos from nike “victory” and mache “battle”, Sophokles from sophos “wise, skilled” and kleos “glory”, Polykrates from poly “much” and kratos “power”. The elements used in these compounds are typically positive and of good omen, stressing such ideas as beauty, strength, bravery, victory, glory, and horsemanship. The order of the elements was often reversible: aristos and kleos give both Aristokles and Klearistos. Such compounds have a more or less clear meaning. But as was already noted by Aristotle,[9] two elements could be brought together in illogical ways. Thus the immensely productive hippos “horse” yielded, among hundreds of compounds, not only meaningful ones such as Philippos “lover of horses” and Hippodamas “horse-tamer”, but also Xenippos “stranger horse” and Andrippos “man horse”.

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